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Mortaza Sahar

Mortaza came to New Zealand from Afghanistan when he was just four years old. He has settled into the New Zealand way of life and is now Head Boy at Pakuranga College. He has just returned back from attending Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology (FEAST) in Brisbane.

Hello, I’m Mortaza Sahar (or Taza like Tarzan for short), a year 13 student at Pakuranga College in Auckland. I’m originally from Afghanistan and my family and I have been grateful enough to have been accepted into New Zealand as refugees. I was four when I came to New Zealand and have been living in the City of Sails ever since. When I was younger I hated school or anything related to education because the Call of Duty: Black Ops (video game) sounded like a far better alternative. However, after going back to Afghanistan for a visit I realised some things, one of them was to never throw away the great opportunities I have been blessed with in New Zealand. Why such deep realisations? Because I understood only when I returned to Afghanistan that the students who were the same age of me would never have the opportunities to go to school, play sports, or have peace of mind. But enough about my life story let's get to the reason why I’m writing this in the first place.

I would like to genuinely thank Royal Society Te Apārangi for giving me the opportunity to attend FEAST in Brisbane, Australia, along with seven other New Zealand students. I’m really looking forward to attending the event because not only will it allow me to learn more about the topics it will also allow me to meet like minded individuals. Why I’m so fizzed up about science and technology is because I truly think it is one of the most fundamental ways to improve people's lives and the planet itself. And being very honest I want to be a part of the future where I'm able to use my scientific knowledge and hopefully do something or create something that will be benefit others.

In terms of subjects I currently study calculus, economics, classics, physics and chemistry. I’m really fascinated and curious about the human brain and how we can best optimize it and in university I am hoping to study neuroscience in conjoint with a economics or a business degree.

Outside of school I play hockey for both my school and club, I really enjoy playing sports because it's a great way to get some exercise and learn people skills. I’m also involved as a team member in Empower Refugee  mentoring programme which is an organisation aimed at helping refugee highschool students reach a higher learning institution.

I have also had the great opportunity to be the head student at my school, this role has really allowed me to help my peers and share some of my ideas to a larger network. I always think back to the experience I had when going back to Afghanistan and remind myself not to throw away any of the opportunities available to me.